Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, says her mother supports equal marriage.

When asked by OutQ Radio if the former first lady supports equal marriage, Davis replied: “She does,” adding: “I’m hesitant to speak for anyone else, and she’s not comfortable going out in the public eye and getting in the firing line of anything”.

Earlier this month, Michael Reagan, the adopted eldest son of President Reagan, criticised the current generation of Republican leaders for failing to halt the progress of marriage equality across the US.

But Patti Davis hit back. She claimed the former president would have supported equal marriage if he’d been alive today.

Davis never discussed the issue of equal marriage with her father when he was alive, but said he conveyed, without using the words homosexual or gay, the idea that “some men are born wanting to love another man,” when she and her father were watching a film featuring the late Rock Hudson kissing a female co-star.

In her most recent interview Davis accused her eldest brother of being in denial about the family’s acceptance of gay people.

“Michael came to live with us for a while when he was a young teenager and he knew the same people that I knew,” she explained. “And he knew the tolerance. And he knew the two aunts that babysat us. He knew they were around. They were around at holidays and it was completely accepted that they were a couple.”

And in a further swipe at Michael Reagan, Davis said if her mother had disagreed with her recent comments about her father “she would have said something publicly.”

President Reagan infuriated the LGBT community with his slow response to the AIDS epidemic.

“Part of the reason I thought it was important to say that about my father,” Davis said regarding her belief that he would support equal marriage, “is that he was late in addressing the AIDS issue.

“I wished I’d asked him that before the Alzheimer’s, if he’d regretted that he was late in addressing the epidemic. I’m quite certain he would have said that yes he was.

“You know, my father’s flaw was not that he was intolerant. His flaw was that he trusted the people around him. And I’m not excusing him. I’m just saying this as a fact. He trusted people around him to tell him what was going on in the country that he needed to address. There were people around him that did not want him to deal with any issue that had to deal with gay people.”

Nancy Reagan, 91, a close friend of Margaret Thatcher, announced she was “heartbroken” at the death of the former prime minister last week, but confirmed ahead of today’s funeral that she would be unable to attend because of her frail health.